Trying to Psychoanalyze Mighty Mouse detractors
September 29th, 2014
I was watching the UFC 178 Press Conference when Alex pointed out something that I didn’t even notice. In fact, had he not mentioned it, it’s something I probably wouldn’t have noticed at all.
"Why hasn’t anybody asked Mighty Mouse a question?"
My first thought was that “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson simply wasn’t there yet due to the fact that normally champions are the last to arrive at a presser. Then I saw him sitting there on the dais. And he was right. Throughout the however long presser, Mighty Mouse didn’t get not one question. For some reason that bothered me, perhaps a lot more than it should have. Maybe it’s because it continues to confound me as to what this guy has to do to garner the respect he deserves. What is it about Mighty Mouse that fans and yes, the media, can’t get behind.
Let’s not mince words here: Mighty Mouse may be the greatest fighter of all time under 145 lbs. His dominance of the flyweight division and his ability to pick up big wins in the 135 lb division speak for his resume. His athletic ability and picture perfect technique in every single capacity of his game make him one of the best fighters I’ve ever seen. The guy is 2-3 fights away from clearing out the 125 lb division as it currently stands. No other champion in UFC history (yeah, I went there) has had as compelling of an argument for having wiped out their division outside of Georges St. Pierre and MAYBE Jon Jones. The reality is that “Mighty Mouse” is a special kind of freak of nature; a perfect mix of technique, accuracy and ability. If you’re drawing up how a fighter should perform, Mighty Mouse would tick all the boxes. In a world of fairness, Demetrious Johnson gets his just due.
So why do MMA fans seem to hate him? Why does the media resent him? Why does it seem like people revel if his shows don’t do well compared to others?
I’ve been reading a lot and seen a lot of different reasons on why Johnson isn’t liked. Some I think are reasonable and some I think aren’t. At the end of the day, I wanted to give my thoughts on the reasoning of others pertaining to WHY Johnson is seemingly the black sheep of elite MMA.
I don’t agree with is the idea the wrestling fan thing. At least not with the hardcore fans. Most don’t seem to give a damn how big you are if you’re exciting and/or can work a mic. Shawn Michaels (I know he’s billed as 6’1, but there’s no way he breaks 6 feet), Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Daniel Bryant, and Kenta aren’t exactly giants standing next to Show or Cena or Triple H, but they get over just fine (even better in some cases). Maybe among casuals that just want to see big guys throw one another around.
I think it’s because MMA fans see the sport more as a spectacle than a sport. They like the freak show fights, the explosions, the larger than life personalities, the story-lines, etc. They like Sakuraba vs Cro Cop. They like Fedor vs Zulu. They like the DC-Jones brawl. The McGregor trash talk. Chute Box vs Brazilian Top Team rivalries,etc.
Even with boxing, however, weight classes seem to be niche nowadays. Europe has heavyweights. The Hispanic and Asian countries have Bantamweight and lower. North America has featherweight through super middleweight basically. The UK has whatever weight class they can get a champion/Olympian in.
Roman Gonzalez could be a god in Nicaragua (not 100% sure) but you’re average HBO/Showtime part-time viewer probably doesn’t have a clue who he is. HBO/Showtime are providing the weight classes they feel will bring in ratings here. There’s a reason why heavyweights they gave up on the big guys (even cruiserweight which is now basically stuck on NBCSN). Because the American heavyweight market is quiet. It only started making noise when two guys from this hemisphere fought over a world title (Stiverne-Arreola). I imagine a guy like Wilder will help spark interest if he manages to be legit.
Compare that to the UFC and Bellator where almost ALL the top prospects and fighters from 125-ers thru heavyweight compete on the same cards. It’s easier for “hardcores” to bitch about it because they’re only used to being fed through one or two products as opposed to say boxing where if you want to watch a Roman Gonzalez or a Naoya Inoue or Klitschko and you’re American, you have to look for them. You get less people bitching b/c a lot less people sit through their fights.
I don’t think the people watching WEC back in the day, Tachi Palace Fight streams, or staying up at 2 in the morning to watch a card from the other side of the planet care about weight classes b/c they realize there are a shit ton more 125ers/135ers out there than competent heavyweights. It’s more fair to say that people who only follow the UFC will have issues with it. Not everyone who posts on a message board even follows Bellator (though they should).
And don’t forget a lot of “hardcore” MMA fans seem to take pride in their ignorance.